The Fifth Anniversary

So, how did it all begin?  How did a 30-year-old stay-at-home son with no job and no woman suddenly decide to blog? 

It was February 2006.  My Mom was concerned that I wasn’t moving forward in my life.  There were no prospects for employment nor romance.  With one exception, I had lost touch with all of my friends.  I was a master in the art of hibernation.

That had to change.  As I was thinking about what to do to make that happen, I remembered my ex.  We had met through Yahoo Messenger of all things in the fall of 2004.  We talked online and on the phone for three weeks and then we stopped.  There was another guy in the picture.

Despite being incredibly angry, I held out hope that we would somehow still meet off-line.  I obsessively checked her MSN Profile page every day for three months.  (I couldn’t look at her Yahoo page at all.  Too upsetting.)  Surely, she would indicate on there when she was single again. 

And then it happened.  March 14, 2005.  No more mention of him.  For the first time since December 2004, I examined her Yahoo page, the place where I first learned about this other guy.  All references to him were mysteriously erased.  Hmm.  Was it truly over between them?

On Yahoo, she had four links.  One led to her blog.  Poring over every entry, the evidence was overwhelming.  I could get her back.

Three decisions were made.  I would forgive her for what happened.  I would add her to MSN Messenger and reconnect with her.  And I would try to convince her to meet with me in person.

But there was a problem and I’m sad to say, it involved the Police Academy franchise.

Sometime in early 2005, the public library had put all 7 of those movies on order.  I reserved my copy of each and by late February/early March, they started arriving at my local branch.

Unfortunately, by the time I went to pick them up, only 6 of them were available for borrowing.  The third chapter, Back In Training, was conspiciously absent.  A little upset that I wouldn’t be able to do them in order, I did something incredibly brave.  After screening the first two titles in the series, I skipped ahead to Citizens On Patrol (number four) and worked my way through to Mission To Moscow (which, contrary to popular belief, did get a theatrical release).

The same day I learned that my ex had broken up with him, Police Academy 3: Back In Training finally arrived at the library.  Despite the indisputable fact that this is the worst comedy franchise in cinematic history (you can count all the laughs on one hand), I wanted to see that last title. 

Feeling quite strongly that my ex would somehow be a distraction to this private, solitary film screening, one last decision was made.  Yes, I would talk to her again.  Yes, I would forgive her for not telling me about him and yes, I would explain why I wanted to meet her in person.  But if I didn’t watch Back In Training first, I would never get another chance.

Besides, I needed another day to sort out my feelings. 

Like all the others, Police Academy 3 was horrid, a stinking turd of a sequel.  No laughs, no joy, no brains, no point.  Seeing it after Mission To Moscow instead of following Their First Assignment made no difference at all, much to my relief.  And my feelings about my ex hadn’t changed.

We reconnected on March 15.  At some point, she tried to convince me to join her on Xanga.com.  However, her little slice of the web was quite personal.  She enjoyed writing about her daily life and felt it would be a good idea for me to do the same. 

Out of the question.  I had no interest in baring my soul in quite the same manner that she had been doing for months.  I didn’t feel comfortable making this lovely development in my private life public.  (On the other hand, I had no problem with her writing about me.  I found it flattering.)  Nothing she said would change my mind.

Long story short, after nearly two months of online chats and phone calls, we finally met.  There was a strong physical chemistry between us, much to my relief, and she became my first lover in May 2005.  We got together four times and always had fun.

Sadly, she never did get over him.  The day after Canada Day, I was left with little option.  When asked to choose who she preferred to be with, she refused to pick.  It was over.  Because she didn’t want to deal with this in person, I had to end it over the phone.  We haven’t spoken since.

Six months later, I remembered that chat session we had about her blog and her request for me to join her on Xanga to blab about our relationship.  Dismissing the idea of posting such personal material in such a public manner, I nonetheless reconsidered the overall blogging concept.

I asked myself a question:  What if I had a website that resembled a series of newspaper columns?  The concept was appealing.  There would only be one writer, one critic, one poet, one reporter, and most importantly, one editor.  I would answer only to me.  The possibilities were seemingly limitless.

It was an exciting idea and soon, the search was on for a suitable place to pursue it.  Not knowing at the time that there quite a few options open to me, I only looked at two sites (Xanga was never a serious contender). 

Myspace.com wasn’t writer-friendly, so I quickly dismissed it.  Then, I checked out MSN Spaces.  There was a bit more flexibility in terms of the layout and it was glaringly obvious that it was a blog-centric service.  Whatever I wrote would get a nice showcase right on the home page.  You wouldn’t have to click a link to read my latest thoughts right away.

Despite being a wee bit squeamish about going through with this, I decided to take a chance anyway and see what would happen.  (If it wasn’t clicking, I could easily cut my losses and delete everything.  No harm done.)  But first, I needed a name.

I’d like to say I went through hundreds of suggestions agonizing over each one before settling on a winner.  But the truth is far more mundane.  The Writings Of Dennis Earl was the first and only title that popped into my head.  I liked the sound of it, the simplicity, the honesty and that’s what I chose.

With a URL selected and a brown film theme downloaded, it was time to start writing.

And so, on February 19, 2006, exactly five years ago today, I announced my intentions and began posting like a madman.  Almost 500 pieces later, here we are in a new location in a much calmer state of mind.  Over the years, this website has followed the decline of Sun Media, assessed the merits of various films, TV shows, and albums, offered original poetry, and yes, even stories about my personal life.  (My ex got her way after all.)  I’ve made predictions about sporting events, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies and the Academy Awards.  I’ve reached out to beautiful women recently single and bemoaned others becoming unavailable to me.  There have been political rants, entertainment history pieces and memories of being a wrestling fan.  All in all, an eclectic batch of material.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And to think, none of this would’ve been possible were it not for a beautiful young woman who changed my life in more ways than one.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, February 19, 2011
6:11 p.m.

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Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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